In fact, despite producing some great coffee beans, no South American country I’ve ever visited has been known for making a great cup of coffee.
I have to say that I haven’t been to Colombia though, so they may be the exception. But, when we were hiking through Peru a few years ago, I even remember being served some thick, coffee-rich syrup to add to hot water. Disgusting!
It’s hard enough to order my coffee in South America. What I order back home as a “long black” is considered politically incorrect (or worse) in some parts of the world and, although commonly known as an “americano” (including by the Italians, who know a thing about coffee!), I still often receive quizzical looks. When you have to explain how to make it, you know it’s not a good sign.
It’s also hard to rely on coffee recommendations. What an American or a Brit tells me is a good coffee, may not be my idea of a good coffee. Even someone who has milk and sugar in their coffee is going to have a different opinion to mine. Melbourne seems to have gained a reputation around the world for our coffee-loving ways, so my standards are probably quite particular.
Thankfully, although you can’t just walk into any little coffee shop in any neighbourhood and get a good coffee, the news is not all bad.
I mentioned a couple of my early finds and favourites in a post a while ago, such as Café Santiago and Café Sur, along with my all-time favourite and regular local hangout, Colmado, which not only has the great coffee, but also the personal service, good food and stylish decor of a small Melbourne café.
I’ve also enjoyed the coffee at Eric Kayser (which always comes with a little mini treat) when I’m in their part of town. I’ve had good and bad a La Signorina in Bella Vista, and I was recently served a pretty good cup at Oporto, but “one sparrow does not a summer make”.
There are still places that come recommended that I am yet to try, such as Original Green Roasters, actually pretty close by in Providencia.
So, all is not lost for a Melbourne girl living in Santiago. Although the options aren’t endless, there are options and, since a good coffee is something that I love, those quality options are, in turn, something that I love about living in Santiago.